At full stretch: Nuwan Don (above) goes for the two finger, one-handed push-up world record; and (below) Bannatyne gym managers Ellis Falco and Sanjae Hemmings, Nuwan and personal trainers Ryan O’Brian and Neil Reed
Published: 27 January, 2016
by STEVE BARNETT
FOR the more, shall we say, conservative, gym-goers among us, there is one challenge that fills us with fear: the dreaded push-up.
Sure, the push-part is easy enough. It’s the actual up that leaves you cascading in sweat and gurning like someone who has just bitten into a lemon covered in Marmite.
For personal trainer Nuwan Pingamage Don, however, the arduous and testing task of the push-up simply wasn’t challenging enough.
So he’s been mastering the art of the two-finger push-up – and, what’s more, he does it one-handed.
At the Bannatyne Health Club in Russell Square on Tuesday Don, 40, had his sights set on the world record.
He was making his third attempt to better the 46 push-ups in 49 seconds that Mohammed Mohammed Ali Zeinhom managed back in March, 2010, to claim the current record.
In front of five witnesses, who were all armed with stop watches and video recorders, Don completed 47 push-ups in just over 37 seconds – before collapsing in a heap to the floor in exhaustion.
He’s confident that he’s done it, but he won’t know for sure until he gets the verdict of The Guinness Book of Records, who will be judging the video footage and sworn testimony of witnesses that he’s sent them.
“I’ve sent The Guinness Book of Records videos of my previous two attempts,” revealed Don, who until recently lived in Bloomsbury. “The first time I got a message back saying it hadn’t been accepted because there was only one camera angle. So this time I’ve sent them various angles.
“Then, the second time, they said my knees were too bent.
“I’m confident that this time I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me, but we shall wait and see.”
Revealing his commitment to the cause Don, who grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, added: “I used to train in martial arts when I was a child, and I saw Bruce Lee doing this amazing feat of one-handed push-ups on just two fingers. I wanted to emulate him.
“I started by just balancing on my thumb and my forefinger for a few seconds every day, and if I missed a day, I’d do it for twice as long the next day to make up for it.
“Then, on my 100th day, I did my first full press-up.
“I’m trying to achieve something special. Getting the record would be the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, knowing that, for a moment, I was on top of the world.”